Project plan

This page provides information about the plans for the project and what will benefit from financial support. These plans change over time as tasks are completed and new ones are added. The Directors of the Project set the priorities and decide on how the funds are to be spent, within the guidelines of the University of Oxford.

None of the authors of RPC are paid by the project, and there is no plan to do so; all work on the project alongside their other duties (if ever needed, the project could buy time off from the University in order to focus on the project for a period of time). However, the project occasionally employs research assistants —often students— who help and support the authors by releasing them of some of the tasks.

In 2014, only volume IV was published on RPC online. In just a few years, many volumes were released: I, II, III, VI, VII, VIII, and IX. The project has been able to accelerate its achievements through the combined donation of several supporters, especially for the online publication of the first two volumes.

A. Publishing the remaining volumes online

Providing research assistants to support authors

Numerous tasks can be done to help the authors, including obtaining images from specific collections, uploading pictures from printed work, image editing, data checking, data editing, adding museum URIs, etc. This concerns the following volumes:

  1. volume V.1: the Severans (AD 193–218): Europe
  2. volume V.2:  the Severans (AD 193–218): Bithynia-Pontus and Asia
  3. volume V.3: the Severans (AD 193–218): from Lycia-Pamphylia to Egypt
  4. volume X: from Valerian to Diocletian (AD 253–297)

B. Publishing the remaining volumes in print

Providing research assistants to support authors and prepare content for printing

As for the above, research assistants can be employed by the project to help and support the different authors. Tasks involved are similar to those listed above under (A), but they also include copy-editing of the introductory texts and the catalogue, preparing indexes 4 and 6 of the printed volumes (other indexes are generated automatically), plate improvements, proofreading, etc. This applies to the following volumes:

  1. volume IV.1: the Antonines (AD 138–192): Europe and Bithynia-Pontus
  2. volume IV.2: the Antonines (AD 138–192): province of Asia
  3. volume IV.3: the Antonines (AD 138–192): from Lycia-Pamphylia to Arabia
  4. volume VI: from Elagabalus to Maximinus (AD 218–238)

C. Improvements to the existing data

  1. Missing data. Some parts of the database are less complete than they should be, primarily for historical reasons. For example, Egypt was initially published in an abbreviated format in the printed volumes I and II, without listing all the individual specimens from the literature and the core collections. In other circumstances, the coins were not listed and a reference to an existing work was used for conciseness in the printed book. Numerous coins were later added online but the data remains incomplete. The digital format now requires completing these parts, bringing them to the same standard as the other parts.
  2. 'Pseudo-autonomous' coins. Coins without imperial portraits are often very difficult to date. As the RPC series is progressing towards completion, it became evident that many coins without imperial portraits are missing from the series. A very important undertaking is to study and complete the 'pseudo-autonomous' coinage for all cities and all volumes. This enormous task will require a post-doctorate researcher in numismatics to improve the data and add new material from the published literature, the auction catalogues, and the 'core collections'.
  3. Countermarks. The list of countermarks is of incredible value, but it must be improved by providing more information and illustrating all countermarks known from GIC. Chris Howgego made available his documentation (which forms the basis of GIC) for that purpose.
  4. Bibliography. The bibliography on RPC online was initially only a list of abbreviations used by the different authors. But user statistics show that it is becoming the bibliography of reference on the subject. Therefore, there is a need to edit this bibliography and complete it as possible. 
  5. New publications. As research continues, it is also fundamental to keep RPC up-to-date, so it remains the reference work on the subject. Funding allows the project to investigate new publications more systematically.
  6. Consistency. As RPC is the work of many individuals over many years, descriptions and texts do not necessarily follow the exact same conventions and are locally different. As the series is working toward completion on RPC online, it is becoming evident that data need to be edited for consistency and similar standards across all volumes.

D. Greek

  1. Names of Magistrates. The list of 'magistrates' and personal names in RPC is of immense value for historical research. It covers already more than 2,600 names (when the volumes in preparation are included). This impressive list needs to be edited following the most rigorous onomastic conventions so that historians and numismatics can more fully analyse them and discover new patterns. This will require a specialist in Greek and Latin epigraphy and onomastics.
  2. Epigraphy. Coin inscriptions can also be expressed in terms of the Leiden and EpiDoc conventions, with inscriptions expressed in extenso (they are usually abbreviated on coins), with translations in Latin and English. An important consequence of this task is that open-source numismatic data and epigraphic data can be reunited and analysed together. It will require a specialist in Greek and Latin epigraphy with technical skills in XML/EpidDoc.

E. Technology

  1. Codebase. RPC online always uses up-to-date technologies to avoid obsolescence. The codebase and structure of the RPC web app remain well-suited, robust, and up-to-date. But based on the recent trend in web technologies, we are now considering transferring some of the logic from the backend to the frontend. This includes making the RPC data available so that museums and other institutions can record their coin collection and contribute data to the project through public APIs.
  2. Artificial Intelligence. The RPC database can be used with new technologies such as AI. This technology can automate the identification of coins and countermarks, and it will allow a systematic search for die links. The results will provide precious information on the quantification of provincial coinage and the local economy in the Roman provinces. The project already worked with Amazon AWS during a case study, and the first results were very encouraging  (to read more about it see AWS's page on the collaboration with the RPC project). This is little doubt that this technology has the potential to revolutionize the current understanding of the subject.

F. Travel costs

  1. Travels to the core collections. In order to publish the remaining volumes, some authors need to visit some of the core collections of RPC (this includes New York for volumes V.1 and V.3, several European collections for volume X, and the cards from 20th-century auction catalogues kept at the Institute in Vienna). Funding can cover some of the costs for the authors.

G. Volumes

  1. Maintaining the data up-to-date for a second edition. In order to keep all the published volumes to a high standard and up-to-date so that revised editions can be produced when needed, it is helpful to adjust the introductory texts (including the denominational patterns), update the die-links, edit the images for the plates, update the bibliographies for each volume, as well as the indexes 4 and 6.
  2. Volume XI. The series is planned in 10 main volumes (some are divided). An online volume XI could record interesting forgeries and tooled coins from the past literature —as a sort of appendix to the series— to help readers understand why RPC excluded some coins from the main series and help users to distinguish forgeries and tooled coins.
  3. Conference. A conference and a volume of proceedings are envisaged when all the volumes are published online (volumes V and X are still missing). This conference will be organised in Oxford and will allow numismatists and historians from all over the world to discuss and analyse —for the first time ever— a complete picture of Roman provincial coinage from the data on RPC online. Such a conference, and its subsequent volume of proceedings, will form the basis for future research on the subject.

If you are interested in supporting the project financially and would like to discuss the matter, please email us.